Removing Benign Skin Lesions

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 > Removing Benign Skin Lesions

What are skin lesions?

Skin lesions are lumps found on or just below your skin. Examples of skin lesions are sebaceous cysts (also called epidermal inclusion cysts or epidermoid cysts), lipomas, skin tags and moles.

What are the benefits of surgery?

Most skin lesions can be safely left alone. You may want the skin lesion removed for cosmetic reasons or to be reassured that it is not a cancer.

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

Surgery is the only reliable way to remove skin lesions but you may simply leave them alone.

What does the operation involve?

The operation is usually performed under a local anaesthetic.

The operation usually takes 15 to 25 minutes.

When removing a sebaceous cyst, your surgeon will try to remove it whole as this makes sure that none of the cyst wall is left behind and prevents it from coming back. Your surgeon will make an elliptical (oval) cut over the cyst and then cut out the cyst.

To remove a lipoma, your surgeon will make a straight cut on your skin directly over it. The lipoma is freed up from the tissues around it and removed.

A skin tag can simply be numbed with local anaesthetic and then removed.

When removing a mole, your surgeon will cut all the way around it using an elliptical cut.

How soon will I recover?

After a short while you will be able to go home.

You should be able to return to work the next day unless your work will place a strain on the stitches. It is unusual for these procedures to restrict any daily activities you carry out.

What complications can happen?

General complications of any operation

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection of the surgical site (wound)
  • Unsightly scarring of your skin
  • Wound breakdown

Specific complications of this operation

  • A lipoma or a sebaceous cyst can come back
  • Damage to nerves that supply your skin
  • You may need a larger operation
This document is intended for information purposes only and should not replace advice your healthcare team gives you. This information is published under license from EIDO Healthcare UK and is protected by copyright. Other than for your personal, non-commercial use, you may not copy, print, download or otherwise reproduce it.

Skin lesions are common and can be treated by surgery.

What to do next
  1. Talk to us about ways to pay, either insured or self-pay, and find out if you need a referral from your doctor.
  2. If you need one, ask your doctor for a referral letter.
  3. Call us to book an appointment with a consultant.
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